Serotonin partial agonist and reuptake inhibitor (SPARI)
How it works:
Boosts the effects of the neurotransmitter Serotonin and is a 5HT-1A (specific type of Serotonin) partial agonist.
What makes it unique:
This medication has a unique mechanism that boosts serotonin and gives serotonin more time to exert its effect. The serotonin-1A partial agonism is not seen in other antidepressants (but is found in a common antianxiety medication called Buspirone).
Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, dizziness. Vilazodone has potentially less sexual dysfunction than other medications.
Rare side effects include abnormal bleeding, hyponatremia, seizures, induction of mania, and activation of suicidal ideation.
How effective is it:
(1) A 1-year, open-label study assessed Vilazodone in patients with major depressive disorder. Effectiveness was assessed using a depression scale called MADRS. The most common adverse events included diarrhea (35.7%), nausea (31.6%) and headache (20.0%). Most of the side effects were short-lived. Vilazodone was shown to be effective for the treatment of depression.
(2) A study reviewed Vilazodone across different symptoms and severity of depression using two phase-III trials. Vilazodone showed improvement in all 10 individual symptoms reviewed and in the different depression subgroups.
This is rarely seen. This medication is newer and usually more expensive than other antidepressants. I would recommend using an SSRI with buspirone (both very inexpensive) to get a similar mechanism of effect. Pharmaceuticals should never be used as the sole treatment for mental illnesses. Therapy, exercise, meditation or other treatments should always accompany prescriptions.
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1. Robinson D, Kajdasz D, Gallipoli S, et al. A 1-Year, Open-Label Study Assessing the Safety and Tolerability of Vilazodone in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: October 2011 – Volume 31 – Issue 5 – p 643-646.
2. Khan A, Sambunaris A, Edwards J, et al. Vilazodone in the treatment of major depressive disorder: efficacy across symptoms and severity of depression. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Mar;29(2):86-92.